I have been thinking a lot about the relationships children have with their parents.
It obviously is an issue of human existence that crosses time and cultural boundaries.
“Every generation blames the one before” the opening line of a Mike and The Mechanics song often makes me ponder, why do we allow such disconnection from our parents?
Many are justified – parents can get it so very wrong.
The ultimate trust and reliance a child has on its parents, over time, often transforms into a realisation that not only are they fallible, but also their views and ideas of the world can differ so much and are almost at odds with the world the younger generation is finding itself in.
What should a parent be to their grown-up children? An Authority? An equal? A Supporter? Wise Counsel? Proud Observer?
This film cuts through the romantic ideal and projects the truth that so many children see their parents as a burden. To care for them is a duty grudgingly undertaken and it is in death that we perhaps momentarily regret the attitude we carried. Worse still, is when we see the pattern repeated with our own children.
Of course the film definitely commands the audience’s sympathy for the parents in the story. Which is perhaps a little unfair. Children are definitely a product of their upbringing, so the ‘ungrateful’ offspring in the story must carry something of their parents in how they live out their ‘modern’ lives.
I guess it all comes down to love: The ‘unconditional’ sort is so mis-defined – probably because it demands forgiveness, that requires vulnerability, which is always a sacrifice.
They say that parenthood teaches you the meaning of unconditional love. I don’t doubt that is so when raising children, but I would argue that the test of true unconditional love comes when both parents and children are adults.
“Every character, every scene, is marred by the film’s double view, which oscillates between sympathy and farce”.
It wasn’t until I read that, I realized just what it was that had this film unable to completely endear itself to me.
Perhaps that is the nature of the subject matter: Sharp-shooting outlaws, slightly bent sheriffs, damsels and ‘dames’ in the dusty ‘wild west’. It seems a world so far removed from our own that it must often be laid victim to farcical dramatizations.
So, when you have one fooling around on a bicycle to the slightly musically anachronistic tune of “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, can you blame me for being a little unconvinced?
Then when you break it down, really examine it, we are making light of some very immoral behaviour. (Not the bicycle scene, more the whole thieving and swindling). Maybe I need to watch more westerns, but these two had it coming to them and I wasn’t entirely sad for them when it did.
Ok wait, I’m being too serious again. This was apparently voted one of the most likeable films ever made and this little project has afforded me the opportunity to see the work of older generations of actors in their ‘heyday’ (as it were). This is the first Paul Newman film I’ve ever seen and as for Robert Redford, well, what a fine looking fellow he was!
I unintentionally watched the ‘nuovo’ version of this film and came away loving the first two-thirds… not realising that’s how most people feel about the Director’s Cut.
I was completely charmed by the beautiful story of friendship set amongst the gritty struggle of poor southern Italians post WWII, and more so by a cheeky lead child speaking in Italian. I’ve been trying to learn the language myself on and off for the last 15 years and I marvelled at the rapid fluency with which a 5-year-old could not only converse, but create havoc!
Of course while wiping my leaking eyes I contemplated what it means to live a life in happiness. In the typical way of Italian sentimentality, I think the film decides it is all about love and the relationships that shape us. And, call me a romantic, but I tend to agree.
Faye Dunaway perfectly clad in beige, camel and caramel is the only thing that dates this film. It is all too close to today that one could think it was a modern film set in the 1970s.
The performances were amazing – Dunaway had so much dialogue! And the rant by the Wife Scorned (which earned her an Oscar for her 5 minutes on-screen) was outstanding.
There is no doubt that the plot is ridiculous (it’s a satire), but at the same time, it asks the question about how we value the individual. It’s almost ridiculous that we must keep asking that question. But we must – we must. While corporations run national economies, and exploit the powerless; while wars rage for hidden agendas, sacrificing the innocent and while media moguls control what we watch, how and when we watch it, we must keep asking that question.
As Howard Beal says: I’m human being, GOD DAMNIT! My life has value!
“There’s a couple of hours of excellent fighting then an hour of faffing about as they say goodbye”.. twitchy Mr. B was eventually yelling at the TV “C’mon, hurry up”.. and it is a bit like that. Especially in the extended version – how many pensive looks from Frodo can we handle? You must give it to Sean Austin though, he can turn on the tears very effectively.
I do sound rather cynical. It is an extraordinary and epic conclusion to the trilogy and I cried my eyes out when Frodo hugged the boys goodbye – well disguised by the fact I have a cold.
I was also genuinely scared of the spider and had to eventually turn away from yet another gory battle scene (Orcs are pretty gruesome and so is watching them die)… But when it comes down to it, I love these films.
Maybe one day I’ll get to reading the books.
“This is a funny film, but you don’t actually laugh”… or something like that was a comment from Mr. B. And it’s true. This film is the 80% Cocoa of comedies. It’s sweet, with a pronounced bitterness – and I mean a really dark streak. But it is presented in such a way that you just keep ‘eating’ it up without quite realising it.
I really marvelled at the view of 1960s society it gave. It wasn’t so much the rather open attitude to sex and extra-marital activity that shocked me, it was more the way women were treated. They thought they were being romanced in the whirlwind of an ‘affair’, but they were really more like rag dolls caught up in the tumbleweed driven by the ever-strong winds of chauvinism. And what’s more is they let themselves be treated such. Was it the hope they’d be taken seriously eventually? 40 – 50 years later, has it changed all that much? I imagine not for some women. But there is not doubt that I am so grateful to be a baby of the 80s and therefore a woman of the new century/millennium who lives in the afterglow of the ‘liberated woman’.
Of course, in my true style, throughout the film I festered in my frustration over the way Baxter was treated (despite opening that little can of worms himself) and I thought Shirley MacLaine was delightful – in that ‘wounded’ animal (or pixie) sort of way.
I recommend the Empire Essay for a great commentary on this.
I’m in a bit of a Tolkien (or should I say Peter Jackson) muddle at the moment. Our recent trip to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, inspired me to watch the Lord of The Rings trilogy again. They are all such long films (we have the extended versions), so visually rich, complex and involving that they have kind of run into one for me (and I haven’t revised Return of the King yet).
What they have served to do is: 1, fill a night on the sofa in wintry January and 2, convince Mr. B we should have bought the 37” television instead of the 32”.
But I digress – and perhaps undermine a little how brilliant the trilogy truly is.
I’ve done a bit of reading about the film as there is little much to say that hasn’t been said already – and most of it 10 years ago (I feel like I’ve written that before about films on this list)..
But I do gather that this film is the true “middle child” of the set. So once again I am faced with the questions: Do I view and critique the film as an independent production? Do I or can I only view it as apart of the trilogy? Do I judge at it purely as a film in its own right or as the adaptation of the books of Tolkien? OR, do I continue to fulfil the objective of this project by making it all about, well, me?
I guess if it is to be about reflective viewing then this film wants me to consider the loyalty of friends, the inner battle to resist temptation, the effects of mercy shown to even the lowliest of creatures and the battle that rages between good and evil in that and this world and the hope of redemption… and I did think of all those things… (while also re-discovering the delight of Viggo Mortensen and his brooding 5 o’clock shadow).